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Eureka House

20 Water Street, Victoria, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/06/29

Showing south elevation; Province of PEI, 2005
20 Water Street / Eureka House
Showing south elevation - Eureka House is second from right; Lighthouse Museum Collection
20 Water Street / Eureka House
Engraving of hotel; Meacham's Illustrated Historical Atlas of PEI, 1880
20 Water Street / Eureka House

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/07/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Eureka House is one of the oldest buildings in the Village of Victoria. Believed to have been built in the 1860s, the building was originally a hotel. It has had many modifications over its history, but still has a prominent location near the harbour on Water Street. The registration includes the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Built by James Johnston of Victoria in the 1860s to serve as a hotel, Eureka House would have been one of the first places seen by disembarking passengers at Victoria's harbour. Johnston was active in his community, serving as the postmaster and operating a nearby cannery on Water Street.

An engraving of the building in the Meacham's Atlas of 1880 shows a rectangular Georgian style building with tall multi-paned windows and clapboard siding. The building also reveals notch and peg construction visible in the basement and attic. The original fenestration has been altered considerably with modifications made in recent decades - including smaller horizontal windows and aluminum siding.

In 1903, Abner Howatt, Johnston's grandson, turned Eureka House into a private residence. It remained so until 1940, when a new owner, Louise Cannon, re-opened the building as a hotel and became famous for serving lobster suppers. Today, the property continues to operate as a small summer guest house.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/V6

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements illustrate the Georgian influenced heritage value of Eureka House:

- The overall rectangular massing of the building with its two storeys
- The notch and peg construction
- The original sandstone foundation still under this building
- Simple contrasting trim around doors and windows as well as the corner boards
- The pitch of the gabled roof
- The presence and placement of the two chimneys on either end of the house
- The symmetrical façade especially the centrally placed door
- The overall wooden construction of the house including original cedar shingles located under the siding

Other character-defining elements of Eureka House include:

- The prominent placement of the Eureka Hotel on the corner of Main St. and Water St. right across from the government wharf making this building an important aspect of the overall Victoria streetscape



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/V6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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